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Catalog Data

Wearn & Hix Studio, 1866 - 1874  Search this
Richard Wearn, 28 Oct 1826 - 9 Jan 1874  Search this
William Preston Hix, active 1855 - 1870s  Search this
Robert Smalls, 5 Apr 1839 - 23 Feb 1915  Search this
Albumen silver print
Image/Sheet: 8.7 × 5.6 cm (3 7/16 × 2 3/16")
Mat: 45.7 × 35.6 cm (18 × 14")
c. 1868
Exhibition Label:
In the early hours of May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls made a dramatic escape from slavery by commandeering a Confederate ship and delivering it safely into the hands of the U.S. Navy. As an enslaved worker in Charleston, South Carolina, Smalls became a skilled deckhand and wheelman aboard the Planter, a cotton steamer that was converted into a Confederate transport vessel in 1861. Determined to make a bid for freedom, Smalls and his enslaved shipmates absconded with the Planter after the ship’s white captain and crew went ashore for the night. Under cover of darkness, Smalls and his men picked up several family members before guiding the Planter safely past Confederate positions and handing over the vessel to the commander of the Union blockading squadron, positioned just outside Charleston Harbor. Hailed as a hero in the North, Smalls received a monetary award from Congress and later served as the Planter’s pilot after it became a Union gunship.
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache  Search this
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Goatee  Search this
Photographic format\Carte-de-visite  Search this
Robert Smalls: Male  Search this
Robert Smalls: Politics and Government\State Legislator\South Carolina  Search this
Robert Smalls: Politics and Government\US Congressman\South Carolina  Search this
Robert Smalls: Politics and Government\State Senator\South Carolina  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery